National security wrap

The Beat

How criminals use and counter technology

Technology has transformed every aspect of modern life, including how organised crime groups operate. A new article from The Remote Control Project takes a look at the ways criminal groups are using new technology—such as drones—to operate. Interestingly, the article notes that some drug traffickers are also choosing to go the other way, using old deception and smuggling methods, like boats and tunnels, to counter the use of high technology by law enforcement.

ACCC encouraged to make better use of social media

Talking technology, the Auditor-General of the Australian National Audit Office recently released a report auditing the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. The report recommends that the ACCC make better use of social media to improve the way it deals with dodgy traders.

HMAS Melbourne’s hero return to Australia

On Sunday, the crew of HMAS Melbourne returned to a hero’s welcome after spending seven months at sea as part of the 25-nation Combined Task Force 150. Their primary role during the deployment was the seizure of narcotics to disrupt funding lines for terrorism. HMAS Melbourne made five major seizures of heroin in the Arabian Sea worth a grand total of $390 million.

CT Scan

Sydney man charged with violating a control order

The New South Wales Joint Counter Terrorism Team, a combined effort between the New South Wales and AFP, have charged a Sydney man with five offences relating to the breach of a control order. 21 year old Ahmad Naizmand is now restricted from contacting certain people, accessing certain material online and is only allowed to use a phone and internet on device administered by the AFP. Control orders place restrictions on the movements and associations of persons suspected of terrorism related activities without requiring conviction, and Naizmand’s control order is one of  four control orders implemented in Australia by the AFP over the last 18 months.

Australian Government continues to cancel the passports of citizens who have ventured to Syria

The Australian government maintains its stance on cancelling the passports of citizens who travel overseas to participate in the conflict in Syria. The most recent high profile case being Queensland Oliver Bridgeman, for whom ASIO lodged a request for his passport to be revoked in the last two weeks. The AFP have accused Bridgeman of ‘align[ing] himself with a proscribed group’ believed to be al-Qaeda’s proxy militia in Syria, Jabhat al-Nusra. A formal appeal has been filed on Bridgeman’s behalf, who faces a 10 year prison sentence if he travels on his invalid passport. It’s estimated that there are currently 110 Australians fighting in the conflicts in Syria or Iraq, with about 40 having been killed.


Indonesia sinks more illegal fishing boats

Indonesia continued its ‘Sink The Vessels’ policy on 22 February by scuttling 27 impounded boats which had been caught fishing illegally in its archipelago. Boats from Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines and Vietnam were destroyed at five different locations as a part of Jakarta’s efforts to deter illegal fishing in its waters, which President Jokowi has claimed costs Indonesia’s economy 300 trillion rupiah each year. Check out this piece at The Diplomat to see how Indonesia’s responses to illegal fishing have previously heightened tensions with its neighbours.

First Responder

Building collapses in Europe’s biggest disaster training exercise

More than 250 personnel from four countries have participated in Europe’s largest ever disaster training exercise across London this week. ‘Exercise Unified Response’ saw a building ‘collapse’ into a busy underground train station, with the aim of preparing specialist emergency crews for a large-scale operation. 70 organisations and more than 2000 volunteers participated in the four-day drill, which was funded by the European Union. The Independent has a video of the exercise here.

New resilience program launched

The ‘One Billion Coalition for Resilience’ was launched on 29 February in Dhaka, Bangladesh, by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Secretary General, El Hadji Amadou Gueye Sy. The global initiative, convened by the IFRC, aims to create safer and more resilient communities through building partnerships between civil society and the public and private sectors. By 2025, the program aims for at least one billion people to have taken active steps to enhance community resilience through identifying risks and hazards and collaborating on sustainable solutions.